18th June 2013
Davis continues rich vein of form at the 2013 European Championships
Twenty one year old James Davis from London struck European bronze yesterday in Zagreb. He won all five of his first round matches (up to a maximum of 5 hits) to take a ranking of fourth into the direct elimination stages. That earned him a bye through the first knockout stage and in the round of 32 he went 5-1 against Majewski (POL) only to find himself at 5-5 at the first break. In the second period he took the fight to the Pole and ran out a 15-10 winner. In the round of 16 he faced Kontochristopoulos (GRE) and was 5-4 down at the first break. He went into the second break 9-7 up but the Greek fencer levelled the fight (9-9) in the final period. Davis upped the pace and won 15-10 with a well-executed parry riposte (defensive block followed by an attack).
In the quarterfinal he faced Byk (BLR) in an incredibly tight fight, during which he had to change his mask due to a valid hit registering in an off-target area. At 13-13 Davis showed great composure to see off the Belarussian 15-13. This guaranteed him a bronze medal but he had a chance to fight for gold if he beat world number two and defending champion, Cheremisinov (RUS) in the gala final. He started well and was 3-2 up in the early stages but Cheremisinov showed greater variety using a combination of aggressive, defensive and counter actions to take a 9-6 lead into the break. The Russian pulled away in the second period and went on to win 15-8.
The Russian went on to lose to the new European Champion, Joppich (GER) who took the gold medal match 15-12.
Speaking after the event, Davis said; “I am delighted with my performance today. Although I was disappointed not to get the final and win, I am happy to get my first European medal. I am really looking forward to the team event and know we are capable of another medal. I would like to thank UK Sport, Beazley, my University, my mum and dad, Ziemek and all the support staff. Today is a nice platform on which to head to the Worlds.”
British Fencing Performance Director, Alex Newton, added; “I am thrilled for James and the whole team for his first European Championship medal today. We are of course disappointed that we couldn't convert the bronze to gold but with the Worlds in six weeks we are confident the whole men's foil team can produce even better performances.”
Another British Fencer, three time Olympian Richard Kruse, 29, also from London finished 6th, whilst Marcus Mepstead and Keith Cook were placed 22nd and 43rd respectively. The Championship continues until Friday 21st June with more medal potential for the British team in the coming days.